Today I’m reviewing The Great Zentangle Book: Learn to Tangle with 101 Engaging Patterns by Beate Winkler, CZT, & Friends. I found this book at my local library, and really loved every aspect of it. As someone who has visually taught herself the art she knows, I found this book quite helpful, not only to learn how to Tangle, but also in practicing different types of lines.
The introductory pages of the book speak a little on the history of Zentangle — I found it’s beginnings quite surprising — to me, Zentangle started at my parents’ dining room table which stood next to the landline phone. Seated at the head of the table, deep in conversations with callers, they would take notes and occasionally doodle a latticework of lines, circles, spirals and spiderwebs, only much later did the epiphany arise that adults want to color, too, and bam — Zentangle. Truth: It was actually invented by Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts. You can read all about how it began at their website, Zentangle.
The one thing the publishers / author might have changed about the book to make it even more helpful is to add tabs, and either alphabetize the patterns, or create a tab for each one so it’s easier to flip right to them. A ring-bound book may have been additionally assistive. These was my only grievances with the book. With it being a library book, I have to be gentle with it, and I had no way to hold it open to the page I needed while drawing. So I had to try to commit patterns to memory before beginning. Easy with some — not with others.
Best things about this guide:
- At the very back there are a few pages titled, “All Tangles from A to Z”. These pages held a brief compendium of all patterns shown throughout the book, and images of tiles visually describing each so you know exactly which ones you’ll find and where. Page numbers included.
- Each pattern taught was coupled with examples of tiles that particular pattern had been used in. These tiles were drawn and provided by Zentangle Artists from so many countries. So not only do you learn how to Tangle that pattern specifically, but you get to see variegated examples — the one pattern doesn’t have to look exactly so. Take your inspiration on a journey.
- Patterns were extremely easy to comprehend with new lines and shading marked in red. This book did all but hold my hand through the learning process.
I did things slightly different from what the book recommends — nothing against the recommendations made, I really love the materials I have, and felt I should use them rather than purchasing more right away. I used blank index cards, #2 pencils from Ticonderoga a Staedtler eraser and when I needed ink I used a BIC Grip Roller. In my practice, I came up with this Tangle-Face.
So, how about you? Are you tangling yet? Please feel free to share your own experience with Zentangle, this book, or even your art links in the comments below. I’d love to hear from all of you!! What art materials and guide books have you found most helpful?